Spiritual Heritage

Just thinking….

I have a scrapbook down in my craft room which I made during a special Bible study class years ago. The idea was to create and preserve the story of our spiritual journey, and it would become a legacy for our children and grandchildren.

I had never done much scrapbooking, but this appealed to my creative side. I’m so glad that I took the class. My book contains my spiritual heritage from my grandparents and parents, and also continues through my marriage and to my children and grandchildren. It covers my time of believing, of growing in faith, and of my times of learning.

The memory of that book came back to me today during church. The pastor was referencing Judges, and how Israel went through cycles of decline and regeneration. The truth, of course, is that it is not just Israel. I as an individual go through these cycles, as does society. I have a note in my Bible: “We are just one generation away from being a pagan nation.” So terrifyingly true…..

“When we become complacent, tolerant, accommodating, the world will win. We will be adopting other gods and living in immorality.” (Pastor Jim Rightler)

I have been blessed. I knew my great grandfather; I think he was born in the 1850’s. I knew all four of my grandparents for over half of my life. (We always joked that we came from a family of long livers…). I’m almost 63 and still have both of my parents. And then I go the other direction to the generation of my son and of my grandchildren. Right there I have had direct contact with 6 generations. And if God wills, I will someday know my great grandchildren, the 7th generation.

So what is the influence here? My great-grandfather knew God. I didn’t spent much time with him, but we knew that he was a believer. My grandparents were believers. Knowing the Word, going to church, prayer….. all were a common part of their lives. My parents are Christian, and their faith is apparent, even as they live out these difficult days of their old age. The impact of all these folks is not lost. They have taught me well, and I will forever be grateful.

But….. if I become complacent about sin, tolerant of sin, and accommodating of sin, then the next generations will lose.

Scripture says of the Israelites: “Everyone did as he saw fit.” If evil was done, it was reasoned away, explained in logical terms, excused. And then it became the norm. I shudder to think of aspects of our culture and society today that my grandchildren think are the norm.

I believe that our human tendency is to worship something. I have chosen to worship Jehovah God. But I know how easy it is to slip into worshipping my possessions, my intellect, and so forth. If any of these are placed before God, then I am worshipping them. Shame on me!!! How do we as society move from worship of God to worship of almost anything else? Perhaps it begins when we don’t tell our children the stories anymore of who God is and what He has done. Perhaps it is accelerated when our children see us doing things or saying things that are antithesis of what we claim to believe. Perhaps it is when a Sunday soccer game takes precedence over family worship time. And the list can trail on and on…..

Not all blame can be placed on the previous generations. Each person is responsible for his or her own decisions and actions. I could have had a godly heritage and still made stupid and sinful decisions that stopped the benefit right there. And folks who came from terrible homes can make the choice to not continue in that path; they can break the destructive cycle and start anew. But the fact remains that we still are to pass on our faith to our children and grandchildren. It’s never too late to do the right thing.

My scrapbook testifies to that.

Father,
I am so grateful for the blessing of a faith-filled family. I pray for Your strength to not stop there, but to keep on passing the legacy to my child and grandchildren. It’s vital; it’s critical for them to know You, just as past generations have known you.
To God be the glory….
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Thanks, Ms. Hattie!

Just Thinking….

A memory came to mind today that I had spent years trying to NOT think of. It was one of those very embarrassing times…..

Many years ago, our church was having a special reception in the church hall. It was crowded, and everyone was having a great time. Hubs and I were on the far end of the hall, and I left for a while to go the ladies’ room.

Finished, I walked back into the hall and started for the far end. I was chatting along the way, waving at folks that I had not seen in a while. Suddenly the pastor’s wife, Hattie, came up behind me and put her hand on my shoulder. I started to turn around and talk with her, but she said very softly, “Just keep on walking.”

She steered me into a small side room and shut the door. That’s when I learned my transgression. Somehow in the ladies’ room, the bottom of my skirt had become caught into the waistband of my panty hose. I was mortified! Hattie helped me get adjusted. But I did not want to walk back out into that hall. I would rather crawl thru a small window and make a get away than face all those people who probably saw more of me than they bargained for. But there was no small window….. and with Hattie’s encouragement, I went back out to the reception.

Well, our women’s Bible study this morning was about the Samaritan woman at the well, who encountered Jesus. She had had 5 husbands and was currently living with a fellow who was not her husband. Jesus knew all this. He gently helped her see her sin, and then she could adjust to His expectations.

That’s when my memory of that ill-fated reception came to mind. What happened to me with Hattie is indicative of what our God does in our lives. Here I am blithely rolling through life, with not the faintest hint that I am in trouble. Then Jesus shelters me, shows me my sin, helps me overcome, and gives me confidence to live. Embarrassing moment? Hattie behind me? Moment of truth? How wonderful for God to give us little pictures of His grace and mercy.

“All things work together for good….” (Romans 8:28). And that reminds me of Joseph in the Old Testament after his no-good brothers sold him into slavery. He much later encounters his brothers, but now he is in a position of power, and they are afraid of him. Joseph tells them, “You meant this for evil, but God used it for good.”

My little “wardrobe malfunction” embarrassed me for years. All I had to do was think about it, and I would turn red. I know many will say “Big deal,” but to me it WAS a big deal. I am a modest person. But the big question in my mind was WHY WHY WHY? Was there any possible good in this?

Perhaps it was to remind me of Jesus, all these years later. Perhaps it was to give me insight into the Samaritan woman. Perhaps the telling of this incident was to give clarity at today’s Bible study. Whatever the reason, I am grateful that something bad can be used for good. And thank you, Ms. Hattie, for your kindness.

Father,
Whether I am blind to my sin, or sinning deliberately with eyes wide open, I am so grateful that You continue to shelter me, to keep me safe and show me my sin. I thank You for gently helping me overcome and turn away. I thank You for giving me confidence to continue in life. You are awesome, Father…..

To God be the Glory….
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